Mister Goodnite Rises and Shines

Photo credit: Chris Maroulakos
Photo credit: Chris Maroulakos

Download: Mister Goodnite – “In Lieu”

We Owl and Bear folk are big fans of Mini Mansions. Ever since we first set ears on their 2010 self-titled debut, we’ve been smitten with the LA trio’s moody atmospheres and ’60s-inspired harmonies. And while that band began as a side project for Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman, now another Mini Mansions member has unveiled a side band of their own.

Mister Goodnite is the new “ghostface-pop” project from Mini Mansions vocalist/keyboardist Tyler Parkford. The concept involves Parkford singing new songs over old psych, prog, and soul records. The result is a fascinating blend of the old and the modern that brings out the best of both worlds.

As one might expect from a Mini Mansions resident, the story behind the project’s inception is a bit on the dark side.

“The project started as a story I made up about some dude in Los Angeles who dies in a car crash and is doomed to spend eternity in purgatory as a lounge singer, singing to a crowd of other seedy poltergeists,” Parkford told us.

“It’s like a gritty Ralph Bakshi animation,” he said. “He can’t play any instruments, so instead he sings over all these projected memories that the ghosts carry from their past lives. Long-lost soul ballads and murky ’70s AM pop that they used to hear in the car as a kid before they bit the dust. But the lounge singer doesn’t know the lyrics to most of these songs, so he just wings it and sings his own melodies and words over each track.”

The desire for a listener to make up their own lyrics to a song appealed to Parkford.

“I think it’s pretty universal to improvise vocal melodies over the radio when your stuck in shitty traffic or in the shower,” Parkford said. “I love catching people do that. I’m just taking that a step further and singing my own own songs using only old record samples as the backdrop.”

The brilliance of that decision is immediately apparent on tracks like “In Lieu,” which marries a careening backing track with a wonderful, understated vocal from Parkford. The bass- and sax-heavy “You’re Too Cool” and the sauntering “Love Fast Die Drunk” prove that Mister Goodnite’s formula is no fluke, and we can’t wait to hear whatever comes next from the project.

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